Posts Tagged ‘QMF

01
Aug
13

The Lady of the House of Love

 

The Lady Of The House of Love

Presented by the Queensland Music Festival, Brisbane City Council and Metro Arts

Metro Arts Sue Benner Theatre

26 July – 3 August 2013

 

Reviewed by Guy Frawley

 

Let’s just cut straight to the chase here, I’m about to give you roughly 500 words on why I think you should pull out your credit card, log onto the metro arts website and book yourself (and hopefully your friends) tickets to go and see The Lady of The House of Love. If you’re not in a reading mood however, let me just lead with the sentence below.

 

This show is a one hour reduction of utter professionalism that showcases everything I love about the creative process.

 

Inspired? Please, do yourself a favour and book yourself a ticket or two. Intrigued? Read on.

 

theladyofthehouseoflove

 

On Friday night I walked into Metro Arts with little to no idea of what I was about to witness, a basic level of Facebook stalking had educated me enough to know that the British author Angela Carter, in the form of her anthology The Bloody Chamber, had provided the source material for the evening. However, apart from this and the glam rock marketing photos, I was flying blind. Goth chic styling and a 70s horror literature pedigree alone isn’t something to sniff at, but Sandro Colarelli injects this performance with sufficient backbone to rib a second Victorian lace corset! (More on the corset later).

 

Walking into the theatre and taking my stage side seat, my curiosity was further piqued by the staging. At the same time monastic and lush, the simple down spotlight shining through the intricately carved wooden partition, and the dusting of rose petals across the naked stage began to set the scene. Set designer Josh McIntosh and Lighting designer Andrew Meadows really managed quite a lot with very little.

 

As the stage darkened and the first haunting musical notes began to sound, Colarelli emerged from behind the wooden screen and began to welcome us into his theatrical inner sanctum. The meaning of the partition itself seemed to warp throughout the show as many times as Colarelli, from altar, to boudoir screen to confessional partition. We were not met however by a priest offering benedictions, but by a siren of the gilded silver screen, wrapping her enchanted and undead talons around our very beings and dragging us into the magical realism of Angela Carter’s dark world.

 

A story told from two perspectives, that of a cunningly frail, un-dead nymphette and a naïve, young English soldier, Daniel Evans has done a really beautiful job adapting the script from Carter’s original prose. After seeing this show I tracked some sections of The Bloody Chamber and Evans has managed to translate the sumptuous usage of language and imagery that Carter seems to do so well.

 

Maybe it’s a product of his experience with the physical theatre company Zen Zen Zo, but Colarelli is a man who is in absolute control of every inch of his body for every second of his time on stage. A talent that makes his attempt to portray both of the previously mentioned characters a complete success. His vocal abilities were also an absolute delight to witness. The character and emotion he was able to convey, even whilst jumping from perspective to perspective in the blink of an eye, was truly enviable. That he was able to do all of this whilst constricted within a cinched corset made it all the more impressive.

 

I’ve always loved vampire fiction, my first real introduction being Anne Rice’s Vampire Chronicles, and after the disappointing failure of the Elton John penned musical Lestat I think she should have a word or two with Jake Diefenbach, who served as both composer and musical director. I doubt the creative team would be overly thrilled with me using the phrase ‘vampire musical’ anywhere here, but from what I saw on Friday, Diefenbach  would have been a far better fit than Elton John. His score was absolutely fantastic and you’d be a fool to leave the theatre, as I did, without purchasing yourself a copy of the soundtrack that’s available. I’ll be swinging by Metro Arts when I’m back in Brisbane later this week, and will be grabbing myself a copy as I haven’t been able to get the music out of my head!

 

 

I read an interview Colarelli had given just before opening and he mentioned how blessed he felt to be working with such an amazing team. It’s no wonder, because from what I saw it would appear as if every single person involved in the development, production, staging and performance of this piece is as talented in their own field as Colarelli is as a performer.

Now go and see this show! I just might see you there during my second time around.

 

 

28
Jul
13

1001 Nights

1001 Nights

QTC & Queensland Music Festival

In Association With Zen Zen Zo

Bille Brown Studio

18 – 28 July 2013

 

Reviewed by Xanthe Coward

 

stevenrooke_1001nights

Aladdin. Ali Baba. The names are as well-known as the stories behind them. They resonate down through the ages and across vast oceans. They whisper the promise of adventure, exoticism and romance, from their ancient roots among the shifting sands to the bedside of every child.

 

Zen Zen Zo Physical Theatre joins traditional Persian musicians Pezhvak, for an evening of riveting storytelling, dance and song based around the Middle-Eastern magic of 1001 Nights. Adapted by Michael Futcher and Helen Howard, resident directors of Zen Zen Zo, this production blends together a storytelling troupe that weaves words to charm and delight.

 

Backed by the authentic sounds of traditional instruments including the oud, the dohol and the kamanche, this energetic and enchanting show embraces Zen Zen Zo’s legendary physicality.

 

isabelleandsteven_1001nights

A simply shared, ingeniously sumptuous production, told in the style of Vikram and the Vampire, and showcasing the talents of Dan Crestini, Gavin Edwards, Steven Rooke, Isabella Tannock and Tina Torabi on stage, as well as the Pezhvak Traditional Music Ensemble, 1001 Nights is a treat for the senses…sans fragrance of the sandalwood mentioned on more than one occasion (I’m sure the budget didn’t stretch that far. Burning sandalwood oil is expensive!).

 

Against a sparse setting of sand and the semblance of a structure to serve as multiple settings, and utilising rich fabrics – brocade of silver and gold – for everything from tablecloth to flowing cloak to tailored coat, and oil drums, some pots and the power of our imaginations, the famous tales of the Arabian nights are shared with passion and the type of physical theatre and vocal mastery that we’ve come to expect from Zen Zen Zo. (Designer Bill Haycock and Lighting Designer Ben Hughes).

 

From the very first strains of Persian traditional music, and as the lights dim, we are already enraptured – snared – and ready to take the journey, to be transported to another time, another place; an exotic land of impossible dreams and intolerable violence in retaliation for offences that would have our contemporary crims out of irons after a short stint of leisure activities including improvisation, or studies of Shakespearean text.

 

Adapted by Michael Futcher and Helen Howard, and directed by Futcher, 1001 Nights suffers only from Zen Zen Zo’s indulgence in too many stories. It’s too long, perhaps by two or three tales. We are restless. We are enthralled, and enraptured, and restless. The stories are intriguing, the performances are A1 and very often the characters featured are, in turn, funny and infuriating. I wonder about what could be omitted; such an incredible wealth of material has already been so cleverly condensed. At times, in between tales, it’s the music that holds up the pace, but it’s so beautiful, we are forgiving of these pauses, when the actors appear to have to wait for the musicians, who momentarily, and quite rightly, claim centre stage for the opening of Act 2. (Musical Direction Phil Slade).

 

It’s funny and confusing. My favourite is The Little Hunchback. I listened to the podcast so I knew the story. I knew he wasn’t really dead. It was funny when he danced! The music and the voices are beautiful proper storytelling music and voices. When can we see it again? Poppy Eponine

 

genie_1001nights

We were warned that the Genie may be quite frightening, but Poppy wasn’t frightened. She likened the Genie to The Wizard of Oz, with his booming, reverberating voice and wicked face on a stick, held high above the ensemble by one of its members. “It’s a trick, a theatre trick.” When we talked about it she said, “Well, maybe it would have been frightening for a little kid.” Poppy is seven, so by “little” she means a child of three or four.

 

This is a strong, tight-knit ensemble, their collective vocal and physical talent is impressive, and with its stunning design and the addition of – truly magical – live traditional music, you would expect this production to enjoy a longer run. I just love what Artistic Director of the Queensland Music Festival, James Morrison, has to say in his notes about Futcher securing a run for this production during QMF. Morrison says there was no pitch, no story board; “he simply had Pezhvak play and said the words ‘1001 Nights’…I was instantly hooked and wanted to sit on a rug and hear the stories.”

 

Let’s hope 1001 Nights will be resurrected at some stage as a touring show. It would be a hit with secondary schools, if they ever had time to see it! Or perhaps it could be made available on the corporate circuit. I’m serious! This is the type of themed entertainment that we are being asked each year to create for major fundraising events! Teachers, parents and event managers, keep an ear to the ground, because if 1001 Nights comes around again you’d be foolish to miss it!

 

And if you’re very lucky, with no other plans this afternoon, you just might secure the last remaining tickets to the final performance today at 3pm.

 

AND just because I love it, and I couldn’t see any Pezhvak on YouTube, here’s an homage to the gorgeous (and hilarious) Bollywood moment!

 




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